In an effort to highlight the people who are leading graduate chapters across the nation, we at Watch The Yard reached out to the brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc.’s Jacksonville (FL) Alumni Chapter in Jacksonville, Florida and did an interview with Scott Channing Armstrong the Polemarch of the chapter.
The position of Polemarch/president of a Black fraternity chapter is a highly respected role and there is a special pride that one takes. Armstrong, who is a Information Technology Professional, has served in the position of Polemarch for one year.
We interviewed Armstrong and talked to him about his position, goals, future and what it means to hold this type of leadership position in the digital age.
Read the full interview below.
What does it mean to be a chapter president to you?
Being chapter Polemarch means that I have garnered the trust and respect of the members of our chapter and the organization at-large. I am honored and humbled to have been elected to the highest position of leadership in such an esteemed chapter. I am working diligently to leave a legacy of greatness, as did the 39 Polemarchs before me.
What specific initiatives is your chapter heading up this year and how do you think they will improve the surrounding community?
Our chapter, in conjunction with our 501c3 Foundation (Kappa Alpha Psi Jacksonville Foundation, Inc.), is embarking upon a very exciting project to build a “Kappa Kommunity Center” on our existing property in Northwest Jacksonville that will enable us to become a brighter light in this underserved area of the city. We aim to spearhead community inspired initiatives from the facility to include, but not limited to: Life skills training, leadership training, financial literacy, SIDS education, voter education, and truly have a home for our Guide Right Kappa League mentoring program. Starting this year, we have re-instituted our Annual Black & White Ball after a 20 plus year hiatus. The Black & White Ball will serve as an additional fundraising source in conjunction with our Annual Charity Golf Tournament and Healthy Start 5K Run that fund our scholarship initiatives on a yearly basis.
What made you want to pledge Kappa Alpha Psi?
I pledged Kappa as an undergraduate over 25 years ago simply because I felt that I embodied some of the same characteristics that I saw in the Kappa Men that I encountered on campus. Their demeanor, the way they dressed, and their likable reputation all drew me to the organization. Then when I saw an actual step show, I was HOOKED!
After graduating, I have continuously been active on the Alumni level, because my love for “Kappa” will not allow me to do otherwise.
What is it about your specific chapter that makes it so unique?
The Jacksonville (FL) Alumni Chapter is unique because it was the first Black Greek Letter Organization charted in the state of Florida. We have been awarded the esteemed Paul W. Caine International Alumni Chapter of the Year (Named after Founder Paul Waymond Caine) a total of 4 times out of the last 10 Grand Chapter meetings including the most recent years of 2015 and 2017. We have also been awarded the Southern Province Chapter of the year award 15 times over past 20 years.
We have 2 chapter members (Frank S. Emanuel and John F. Burrell), who are awardees of Kappa Alpha Psi’s 2nd highest honor, The Elder Watson Diggs Award, named after our most revered founder. Also, Cleveland Ferguson III, editor of our national publication “The Journal”, and John F. Burrell, the Executive Director of the fraternity, are both active members of our chapter.
We now live in a digital world, what do you think alumni chapters across all orgs need to do to represent themselves online in 2019?
Alumni chapters need to constantly flood the news media and social media scenes with positive images of who we are and how valuable we are in our respective communities. We hear and see far too much negative press about the less than positive things that happen in our organizations from time to time, and not quite enough about the good things that we do, and the positive impact we make.
What does leadership mean to you?
Leadership, to me, is volunteering for the front line. It means being a positive yet relatable servant leader. It means being an example of both success and lessons learned. It’s being an influencer of ideas and productively and positively impacting the vision and direction of said organization.
Why do you think Watch The Yard is important to Black greekdom?
I think Watch The Yard is important to Black Greekdom because it provides us a platform to show the world that our organizations are filled with high quality, highly educated people who make a difference in our society. Sharing our positive stories and images can help shape the way Black Greek Organizations and their members are viewed.
What does brotherhood mean to you?
To me, brotherhood is the result of positively connecting with other like-minded men, and collectively strengthening that bond. Once the bond is created, we all draw strength, encouragement, and a sense of belonging from it, all while depositing into it those same virtues.
How is your chapter providing for the undergraduate chapters you support?
The Jacksonville Alumni Chapter supports our undergraduate chapters primarily through financial assistance. We oversee 3 undergraduate chapters, and we ensure that their mandatory fraternal obligations are met. Each year, they are required to have registered delegates attend our regional leadership workshop, and regional meeting. Also, every 2 years they are required have at least one voting delegate represent their respective chapter at our Grand Chapter Meeting. We cover the registration and lodging costs for the undergraduates who attend these required functions. Each year, we assist with the ever-growing insurance premium costs that are required for each chapter to remain in good standing. We also have a book stipend program through our Foundation that assists individual undergraduate brothers with book costs each school year. Individual alumni brothers also work to build individual relationships with our undergraduates in an effort to assist them in their chosen career fields. The success of our undergraduate chapters and the success of their individual members is important to us, and we feel that taking away some of their financial burdens enables them to focus on their studies and keep their chapters engaged on their respective campuses.
We at Watch The Yard would like to commend Armstrong for his work as the Polemarch of the Jacksonville (FL) Alumni Chapter which has a legacy that spans back to 1925.